Job: Research Associate, Senior - 101088, Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Durham, NC
The Division of Structural Biology applies structural biology to study the structures of viral glycoproteins, their interactions with host molecules and role in viral entry. Working at the interface of basic and translational research, we collaborate with multiple labs in DHVI and beyond to apply insights from structural biology to vaccine design. We have state-of-the-art facilities that include a tissue culture lab and FPLCs for protein production and purification; Biacore T200, Octet Red 384 and isothermal titration calorimeter (ITC) for measurement of intermolecular interactions; Nanotemper Tycho (differential scanning fluorimeter) and NanoDSC (differential scanning calorimeter) for stability studies; robots for X-ray crystallography; and Leica EM GP2 and other equipment for for cryo-EM grid preparation. We have regular access to the 22-ID beamline at the Argonne Photon Source for X-ray data collection, as well as to a Titan Krios microscope equipped with a Gatan K3 camera at Duke University for cryo-EM. Our primary goal is to understand the mechanism of viral entry and to utilize this knowledge for vaccine and therapeutics design. This position will involve research projects using high-resolution cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography to determine structures of HIV-1 Envelope (Env) and SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) complexes with host receptors and antibodies, biophysical and biochemical analyses to complement structural results, and collaborations with virology and immunology labs to understand the functional implications of the structural findings.
• Independently lead and execute structural biology projects within DHVI Division of Structural Biology; serve as the point person for assigned projects and coordinate collaborative science among investigators within DHVI and externally to effectively meet the scientific milestones and project deadlines.
• Produce and purify HIV-1 Env, Coronavirus (Cov) spikes, antibodies and receptors for structural analyses.
• Perform crystallization experiments, collect x-ray diffraction data, and determine structures.
• For cryo-EM structural determination, perform specimen optimization, grid preparation and screening, data collection, map and coordinate refinement.
• Analyze structural data and perform complementary studies, including binding and stability studies.
• Collaborate with virologists and immunologists, within DHVI and outside, to place staructural results in a biological context.
• Design and execute experiments; analyze and interpret data; archive experiments in a manner that is scientifically justifiable, reliable and understandable to others; and provide guidance and oversight to junior scientists.
• Develop and optimize new methods for the laboratory
• Train laboratory staff and DHVI trainees
• Accurately document detailed research experiments in a laboratory notebook
• Perform other related duties as necessary and requested
• A Ph.D or equivalent doctorate in biological science, chemistry, or related field is required.
• At least 5 years of experience in structural biology with expertise in either cryo-EM or x-ray crystallograophy, as demonstrated by published papers.
• Expertise in protein purification and molecular biology.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Ability to work effectively within a team, as well as independently.
• Must be able to manage multiple and rapidly changing priorities and have the ability to learn and apply new skills and concepts
• Must be detail-oriented and well-organized